Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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OK, today I went ice fishing for the first time in about 20 years.
I have had this fear of falling threw ice since the last time I fell in. I was in my late teens, it was about 4 degrees out and I fell into a lake we were riding our motorcycles and snowmobiles on. The lake had an aerator that did not allow the ice to freeze as thick in certain places. When I fell in, I was up to my neck and it was very hard to get myself out. However I did get out before my friends got back to me. I got on the back of a friends snowmobile and off we went to his house. It took about 4 hours for me to get warm and thaw and dry my clothes.
So last week I found an ice auger on craigslist for $ 20.00, considering that the ones I was looking at in F&F and other outdoor stores were $70.00 to $90.00. I thought “great, I found a deal”. I drove to Pekin and bought it. it was in very good condition and I couldn’t wait to get out on the ice.
This morning I went to F&F and bought a pole and reel, skimmer, ice jigs, bobbers, weights for depth finding and a spring tiptop.
My son and I raise a few meal worms so I grabbed them and, this afternoon I headed to the lake.
My dog and unloaded at the lake and we walked out onto the ice sounding it the whole way. I thought I’d go out to where I thought it was about 4-5 feet deep and punch a hole and see how thick the ice was. I was very happy to find out how easy my $20.00 auger cut the first hole. The ice was about 8 inches thick, so I walked out a little further and punched 2 more holes. I was probably 60-70 feet from shore at the furthest hole. I walked back and grabbed my rod and seat. I walked to the furthest hole and started to drop the weight to find the depth, all of the sudden the lake let out a loud crack and pop from the ice. Only then did I remember the sound the ice makes on a normal day. I am glad I sitting down or else I would have fallen down. I jumped so badly, and I know my heart skipped a beat.
Well, I managed to settle down and we stayed on the ice for about 45 minutes with no luck.
As I sat there fishing and listening to the ice pop and groan, I just could not sit there and relax. I was feeling quite nervous. I thought “I should not be out here alone.” My fear got the best of me and I gathered my things and headed for the shore.
Today the ice won, but tomorrow I’ll be back, maybe.

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Comment by John Vogelsang on November 13, 2012 at 5:36am

I fell through the ice in 1992 luckly for me it was in 4' of water. The shore ice melts first. I NEVER go ice fishing alone since then and wear the ice spikes around each hand until I know the ice is safe. Facing our fears with courage is admirable but always fish with a partner and have a cell phone handy.

Comment by klrbaer on March 3, 2010 at 1:17am
I took my son ice fishing yesterday. Thank you Mr. Pulaski for the day.
We started out at my wifes aunt and uncles smal pond. I drilled 3 holes and we never moved for 2.5 hours and 47 fish later. The bag of fish weighted 17.8 lbs.
Well, we had such a good time, he wanted to go out again and so we got some lunch and warmed up and then headed to another small pond. We got there and started punching holes. It was ten holes later before we hit some fish. Boy did we hit them. We got them from 12ft all the up to just below the ice.
We were using the same rigs, jigs and waxies as we did in the morning, and just kept on catching fish. We punched about 20 holes in that pond and had a great time.
We caught 42 fish and the bag weighed 20.6 lbs.
What a great day we had.
Comment by John Sheehan on January 29, 2010 at 8:07am
I'd be careful and stay back from where water flows in . The general area of inlets have produced fish for me but I was cautious in drilling holes up to inlet areas and want at least 4" of ice under me at all times. My luck through the ice usually comes near bottle neck areas and deeper sections of the lake.10- 20 ' has been working for me My home lake only has a few spots deeper than 20'.
Comment by klrbaer on January 28, 2010 at 7:43pm
When I'm out there, do I want to go for the deep stuff or will I find fish at any depth? I have a few small ponds to go in that produce big gills and I was wondering where to start.
I was also wondering how the flow of new water into a lake effect the ice??
Comment by John Sheehan on January 28, 2010 at 3:10pm
8" is very safe unless you weigh as much as a house 4" is considered a safe standard ..I salute you for facing your fear
Comment by John Sheehan on January 28, 2010 at 3:07pm
If the ice was 8" you were safe..unless you weigh as much as a house.

4 "s is considered safe for a standard. Just as well you didnt give your son a turnoff initiation story. I salute you for addressing your fear and trying this great sport!
Comment by Jim Gronaw on January 28, 2010 at 2:09pm
Yes, if you're skittish, it's probably best to ice fish with a veteran. That ice popping and cracking is usually a good thing as pressure cracks indicate that ice is actually forming and thickening. And that happens when it is well below freezing. But you're right...it does scare you the first few times you hear. and feel, it. Takes some getting used to. Good luck! Jim

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